Contemplation brings transform
There are two ways to read the Bible.
- First, we read the Bible to gather information. MOST of our Bible reading, studying, preaching emphasizes this. A ‘mature’ person is generally thought of as one who ‘knows the Bible.’
- Second, we read the Bible to be formed into the image of Christ. This is formational reading. This is very neglected in most of our lives. However, this is a key need for spiritual growth.
You could look at the differences in this manner:
- Contemplation brings transformation
- Intellectual study brings wisdom
We need both! However, as I said, the majority of our efforts are given to the intellect!
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:15-18 (DARBY) 15 But unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil lies upon their heart. 16 But when it shall turn to [the] Lord, the veil is taken away.) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, but where the Spirit of [the] Lord [is, there is] liberty. 18 But *we* all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by [the] Lord [the] Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:15-18 (NKJV) 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Contemplate: Beholding: to look at something as in a mirror, contemplate something.
Perhaps the idea of staring at oneself in the mirror comes to mind. We are to be —beholding, or contemplating the glory of God—-which results in our transformation.
- Let’s begin by noting this is not an intellectual exercise but a contemplative exercise. So looking for increased knowledge, per say, is not the idea.
- How do we contemplate the glory of God?
- Glory defined: the condition of being bright or shining, brightness, splendour, radiance.
- To contemplate the glory of God is to contemplate, gaze upon, think of, meditate on his splendour, and his radiance.
The How To’s
- Take time—slow down—pause—relax—rest. You cannot do this in a rush!
- Use no external aids (apophatic)
- You may be wired to do this. Sitting in silence. Thinking. Using breath prayers. Using your mind to process and think of God’s presence and God’s glory
- Using external aids (kataphatic)
- Some people are wired in a way which need more external aids. So music, art work, pictures, nature walks, candles, etc.
- The point is to meditate and slow down. Musing, thinking, dwelling on the person of Christ, the touch of the Father’s hand, or the presence of the Spirit.
- You are not learning things, you are experiencing his presence and his touch.
Paul says as we contemplate his glory we are transformed! We are transformed into the image of Christ.
Why are we missing Christlikeness so much? Because we do not contemplate —we do not take the time to be with Christ, allowing his presence to form us into the kind of person Christ would have us be.